Search engine optimization 101

Marketing

Search engine optimization 101

Beyond the initial website creation, the success of your website will be based on the time and resources you devote to promoting it, including tactics that increase your rankings in search engines.

Beyond the initial website creation, the success of your website will be based on the time and resources you devote to promoting it, including tactics that increase your rankings in search engines.

A search engine, such as Google or Yahoo, is a computer program that searches a subject directory. Every search engine has its own algorithm – a complex set of computer-based rules – that determines the ranking of documents within search results. To protect their intellectual property, search engines don’t publicly reveal the detailed logic behind such algorithms, and it often changes.

To explore the possibility of improved rankings, let’s take a look at paid search versus organic search.

Paid search

When a site owner pays for a service that associates their website with particular search keywords, that is called paid search. For example, if you were to agree to paid search for the words “financial advisor” and “investments,” your site may come up in the search results when a visitor searches using those words. Your “ads” on the results page would be separated from the rest of the results, at the very top of the page or off to the right, and you would pay each time a visitor clicks on your ad (i.e., “pay per click”). The pricing for clicks is usually done in a bidding process. For example, in Google, there might be 100 people who want to be associated with the term “financial advisor,” but the person with the highest bid would rank the highest when someone searches for that term and would pay that highest price each time someone clicks on their ad. In addition, bids can change daily, which means you could be the high bidder on Monday but the lowest on Tuesday, and your ranking could change daily.

Organic search

Organic search creates results based on the “natural” indexing of websites. You don’t pay the search engines for anything. The search engines “crawl” the website, analyzing factors such as site content, inbound links, organizational structure, age of site and images. The search engines then use algorithms to determine two things:

  1. What search terms your site is most relevant to, and
  2. How popular or authoritative your site is based on inbound links from other websites.

There are tactics you can try to improve your ranking in organic search results, but ranking in the very top is not guaranteed. You don’t have to register with the databases to be “crawled” by the search engines.

Improving your search engine ranking can be done. It’s simply a matter of determining what kind of resources you’d like to invest given your goals for your business. For more information about search engine ranking, visit searchenginewatch.com.

Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website’s users and/or members. 



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